javascript - pass "this" to your anonymous functions

Update: The initial solution was wrong and I tricked my self into thinking it was working through something I was working on at the time. Sean and Joel have clarified in the comments as to why it was wrong. I took down the hackernews post as it was getting far too much traffic for a wrong solution. Thanks guys!

There is now a working solution (unchecked by a professional lol) and would undelete the hackernews post so others could see the useful comments but I am unable to.

Anonymous functions in javascript are extremely powerful and if you don't understand them fully just yet I would highly recommend learning asap. A great guide can be found here. The problem with anonymous functions is that when declared the value of "this" changes depending on the situation and generally points to the functions scope.

This is generally not a desired effect and can cause people to use globals and other funky methods of accessing parent objects in anonymous functions. Below I will show you a simple way to access the parent object. Always remember objects in Javascript are passed by reference!

Passing "this" to the anonymous function

This step is quite easy and I have used a famous alien robot for the example. The robot wants to access his main weapon system from one of methods. So the expected output is for the robot to fire "this.weapon" but as you see in the first example he cannot access his properties which are returned as "undefined".



        // Below is a simple function to find our autobots, 
        // just used for testing purposes
        function findAutobot(){
            // Locate the autobots!
            return true;
        // noob_bot is an example of what happens when you 
        // don't pass this to your anonymous functions
        noob_bot = {
            weapon: "laser",
            kill: function(){
                // In the then statement we have declared an 
                // anonymous function and we want to access noob_bots properties
                $.when( findAutobot )
                .then( function(){
                    alert("Noob_bot: Fire the " + this.weapon + "!!!#!");
        // Noob_bots weapon would have failed(undefined) because when
        // you create anonymous functions the scope of "this"
        // changes to the function.   So we use $.proxy(function, this) 
        megatron = {
            weapon: "laser",
            kill: function(){
                // Megatron has direct access to his weapon systems
                //  because we have called .bind(this)
                $.when( findAutobot )
                .then( $.proxy( function(){
                        alert("Megatron: Fire the " + this.weapon + "!!!#!");
                    }, this);





There are many other ways of passing "this" to an anonymous function and if you have any better suggestions I welcome you to post them. Hopefully this tutorial has been helpful to you! Fork me on github, using the link in the top left.

Other implementations

Just posting a few solutions posted by others below.

From sisk on hackernews

            return function(){;};
        })(this), 500

sisk : The short explanation is you return a function from an immediately- executing anonymous function that takes the current scope as a parameter.